On paying attention to what your body is telling you: Holistic health professional Morgan talks about using lab testing and data to better interpret the things she was feeling in her own body.
Who: Morgan Johnson
Living in: East Bay, CA
Working on: Sleep
Found Base through: herbalist Rachel Robinett’s live workshops
Overall health approach
I work in two industries - in addition to owning and operating the talent management agency Johnson Talent Agency, LLC, I’m also in holistic health.
I’ve always been interested in my health, starting from when I was in high school and was suffering from endometriosis. It actually got to the point where I had to drop out of my school and transfer to an independent school to better deal with my chronic illness. Then when I was about 22, I really burned myself out and hit the end of my wire: I had walking pneumonia and bronchitis, and I had to quit my full-time job and do way less freelance work in order to really focus on my health.
So I think holistic and preventative health is really important and that our health definitely affects our overall lifestyle. I think that if you feel something is off, it’s your body telling you a bigger story - like if you have a headache, it’s not just your head, there might be a lot of other things going on. We all need to pay attention to what else it could be saying.
Why were you excited to try Base?
Because I pushed myself so hard in starting my own business and suffered from burnout so early on, I’ve had to learn to really listen to my body. I was excited to try Base because it would actually let me get scientific feedback on what I was interpreting for my body, and that means I’m able to use those results to better listen to (and take care of) myself.
What symptoms or frustrations were bothering you?
I had a really crazy sleep schedule - in the words of my sister to my doctors, “she doesn’t sleep, ever.”. I was having trouble falling asleep and was waking up in the middle of the night even if I wasn’t doing anything else. So I was working really hard to get that back on track. My sister’s theory was to try a sleep aid and see which one worked. I was open to the idea, but at the same time I wanted to know why I wasn’t sleeping - I didn’t want to just slap a sleep aid on it and call it a day.
What have you learned?
My Base results came back and told me that my cortisol levels were completely backward, which wasn’t surprising to me. In fact, I even went over my results with my mom who confirmed that I had always been like this: the most awake and alive in the late afternoon and evening, rather than earlier on in the day like most people.
Before taking the test, I had tried to stay away from melatonin supplements because I didn’t necessarily want to mess with my hormones. But after getting my results, I realized I should mess with my hormones a little or else I was going to be nocturnal for the rest of my life. So I added a very small amount of melatonin supplements to signal to my body when it was actually the correct time to be sleeping. I also started making an effort to get outside and in the sunshine for ten minutes in the morning to jumpstart everything, and I think it’s slowly starting to help.
On a surprising note though, I also took a diet test which showed that I had high cholesterol. This was definitely unexpected since I eat a very low-fat diet. I’m working on identifying what’s causing that on my own but if I can’t, I’ll go see my doctor about it.
What are your hacks/specific strategies for physical and mental health?
The most important thing I’ve done for myself in the last year has been to set time limits for all the different apps on my phone. It’s helped to keep me a little bit more sane.
Practicing self-awareness is also really important to me, so I always make sure to take five quiet minutes for myself every day. For me, that means five minutes brewing a nourishing cup of tea where I’m fully present and focused on boiling the water and pouring it over the tea leaves, not scrolling or talking or listening to music. Those five minutes make a huge difference in my mood; no matter what else is going on, I find I can slow down and I’m less “bitey.”
What apps would make up your “starter pack”?
I used to be super plugged in 24/7, but I’ve slowly been transitioning out of it and getting a lot out of being a little more unplugged. I’m not against technology at all and I think it’s amazing; I just want to use it with intention.
That said, these are my three “starter pack” apps:
Apple Music - For podcasts, hyph-y hip hop during the day, and calming music like Native American flutes for helping me sleep
Notes App - I use this a million times a day for taking notes on the podcasts I’m listening to, recipes I think of, thoughts I have, anything and everything
Class Pass - I love my Class Pass app. There’s even a wellness section where I can book things like lymphatic massages and acupuncture even while I’m on the road